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Budget cuts force L.A. County to curtail beach restroom hours

April 5, 2011 |  7:00 am

Venice Beach in May.

Early risers could face closed restrooms at Los Angeles County beaches this summer, as county officials cope with fewer workers.

Last summer, restrooms began opening at 5 a.m., but on the new schedule, some restrooms may remain closed until as late as 11 a.m., according to Debbie Talbot, spokeswoman for the county Department of Beaches and Harbor. Also, some county beach restrooms may be closed on weekdays and weekends.

Decisions on restroom closures would occur daily and would change depending on demand, Talbot said in an interview. For instance, more restrooms to be closed during cooler weather, and the county would open more of them on scorching days.

The county will post to Facebook and Twitter which restrooms will be closed daily.

“The curtailments are due to the state’s historic budget crisis and the overall local economy severely hampering the department’s ability to sustain beach maintenance services provided in the past,” the agency said in a statement.

Talbot said her agency has 18 fewer workers to clean restrooms this summer.

Also, restroom cleaning will take place later in the day. Last summer, cleaning crews began working at 5 a.m. and stopped at 1:30 p.m.; this year’s summer cleaning schedule is to begin at 7 a.m. and end at 4 p.m. Restrooms close at dusk.

“The proposed restroom cleaning schedule … will allow beach maintenance personnel to work later into the day, when peak usage occurs,” Talbot said. “There isn’t a cost savings involved with the plan, just the best use of a severely depleted beach maintenance staff.”

The county operates 52 restrooms along the coast. The summer cleaning schedule begins May 1.


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Photo: Venice Beach in May 2010. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times